Thanks all. Right, LaRue. I’m looking for some scientific data to say “Exercise is more effective when you focus on it.” Period. No distractions.
Any exercise is better than none, for sure. But for people looking for “the most bang for their buck”, so to speak, turn of the TV and iPod, put down the book/magazine, and think about your movement.
I found something at www.elon.edu that is good, but doesn’t have hard data. I’m certain there’s some out there somewhere!
I agree with Karin that “some exercise is definitely better than no exercise.” I think that what this particular question was getting at is a slightly different question though (Nicole, please correct me if I’m wrong). I see the question as related more to the person who goes to the gym day after day, week after week, exercises regularly yet wonders why they do not see any ‘results’ (whatever their measure of results may be – e.g. reduce body fat, improve their cardiovascular conditioning etc.). While it’s true that some exercise is better than none, I know people who exercise regularly but because it’s at such a low intensity that their body no longer perceives them as working out – they see no results (my friend is an example who has a large amount of body fat despite the fact that she has been getting up at 500a.m. EVERYDAY for the past several years to walk with a neighbor, yet has seen no noticeable change (I understand that nutrition plays a HUGE role in this as well).
Since the question posed here is really related to exercise intensity, not, whether some exercise is better than no exercise, (I think that most fitness professionals would answer ‘yes’ if posed with that question). Given the dichotomy of choosing an intensity that allows one to read (AND I assume comprehend what they’re reading) versus exercising when not distracted. by reading – I think that most of us would agree that a person would get a ‘harder’ workout (the word used by the questioner) without the distraction of reading and comprehending.
I hope that this clarifies why I answered Nicole’s question as I did since this is how I interpreted her question.
I am wondering about your attitude towards people who read while exercising. You are all absolutely right: it is NOT the ideal way to work out. But before I have people not working out cardiovascularly at all, I’d run and get them a book or magazine myself.
Hi Nicole. In my opinion, some things in fitness may not need a research study or article to support them 🙂 Your client’s work on the treadmill, like any other exercising, can be explained in simple terms related to ‘exercise intensity,’ and “overload.”
If your client’s goal is to IMPROVE their cardiovascular fitness they need to up their intensity in order to progressively overload their system – period. I use analogies a lot in explaining concepts to my clients. One I like to use regarding overload and intensity is I will take out a pencil and say “there is no doubt that this pencil has weight – right? So, what if everyday I came to the gym, lifted this pencil 150 times – do you think that I will start to get stronger?” Of course this is a ridiculous example, but the underlying message is clear – you improve through manipulating the intensity of your exercise in order to overload your system.
I hope that this helps.